Citizens in vote-rich Bong County, including some opinion leaders, have described as a step-in-the right direction Vice President Joseph Boakai’s selection of House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay on Monday, July 10, as his running mate.
In a sampling of interviews conducted in Gbarnga by the Daily Observer following Nuquay’s selection, many described the nomination as “the best ticket” and attributed their opinion to what they termed as “a high level of integrity and commitment to duty by the two candidates.”
“Speaker Nuquay’s nomination as vice standard bearer of the Unity Party came as no surprise because he was widely speculated to be the selected in the last few days before the official unveiling,” James Flomo a middle-aged former university student said.
“Emmanuel Nuquay is our kin; we will do everything as traditional leaders in our authority to give the support that our son Nuquay and Vice President Boakai deserve,” said Jimmy Kpokiyean, head of the traditional leaders in the county.
“In Bong County, we are the third highest number of registered voters with 195,407 next to Nimba County so we will rally our support for the Speaker,” noted Madam Esther Korkollie, a classroom teacher.
“If Vice President Boakai wins the Presidential Elections in October, it will be the first time for a Kpelle man to ascend to the second-highest office in the land, so we are not taking this ticket lightly; we will put our blood and sweat to support Nuquay and Boakai,” said old man Moses Suakollie, former chairman of the chiefs and elders in the county.
The citizens said just as they had supported President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ambassador Joseph Boakai in the 2011 presidential and legislative elections, they will repeat history to overwhelmingly support Vice President Boakai and Speaker Nuquay because of their credentials.
Political commentators who spoke to this newspaper said the popularity of Rep. Prince Moye in the county is a testament of the sinking of some political parties, claiming they would get votes in the county.
On May 14, 2017, citizens of Bong County overwhelmingly endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Boakai and with the naming of House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay as his running mate, political pundits have described the ticket as “unique” particularly for the Kpelle speaking regions of the country.
Mark Thomas, an influential leader of the Lorma community in Gbarnga, described the Boakai-Nuquay ticket as great and said the ruling Unity Party made the right decision choosing Speaker Nuquay as running mate to VP Boakai.
“Lofa had produced vice presidents two times, so we the Lofa citizens want the presidency this time. We will massively encourage our people to support Boakai and Nuquay’s ticket,” Mr. Thomas said.
Despite the endorsement of the Boakai-Nuquay ticket by the citizens, some expressed mixed reactions about the team, saying Ambassador Boakai should have chosen someone outside of government circle, while others said the merger is a puny ticket that will face a tough challenge in the October elections.
Political analysts say if Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh, running mate to the ANC political leader Alexander Cummings, falls victim to the Code of Conduct, the Unity Party will have absolute control of Bong County, which has two vice presidential candidates in the pending elections, namely: Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and Ambassador Jeremiah C. Sulunteh.
But political pundits have said Senator Taylor’s popularity during the 2005 and 2014 elections has dropped considerably due to failed promises made to electorates.
Speaker Nuquay was named by Vice President Boakai late Monday evening at the headquarters of the Unity Party in Monrovia as vice standard bearer, because “he shares a similar vision” with the UP standard bearer, VP Boakai said.